A young man who went on an hour-long shooting spree around Memphis, Tennessee, gunning down at least four people was arrested Wednesday night, police said.
Ezekiel Dejuan Kelly, 19, was taken into custody without incident in the Memphis neighborhood of Whitehaven around 9 p.m. local time following a high-speed chase, according to Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis.
The deadly vandalism began early Wednesday at 12.56 and continued until around 8.30 p.m. In all, at least four people were killed and three others wounded in seven shootings across the city, Davis said.
After the shootings, the suspect carjacked a driver at gunpoint in Southaven, Mississippi, just south of Memphis, sped off in the victim’s Dodge Challenger and left behind an SUV stolen from a woman he had shot and killed earlier that night, according to the police chief. . The carjacking victim was uninjured, Davis said.
“Homicide and other investigative units are actively working these crime scenes now and several felony charges are pending,” Davis told reporters at a news conference early Thursday.
“It’s at least eight [crime scenes]”, he added. “We are still investigating. There could potentially be other places. There could potentially be other damage elsewhere.”
Court records obtained by Memphis ABC affiliate WATN show an arrest warrant on the charge of first-degree murder was issued for Kelly on Wednesday, before the shooting spree took place.
The police chief said Kelly recorded at least some of his actions on Facebook Live, including when he opened fire inside a Jackson Avenue store just before 1 p.m. 18. A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told ABC News that the content was identified and removed. prior to the Memphis Police Department’s first public alert about the incident. Meta was also “in direct contact with the Memphis Police Department shortly after they issued their first public alert,” the spokesman said.
Police had launched a citywide search for the suspect and advised members of the public to shelter in place, according to Davis.
“We express our sincere condolences to all the victims who have been affected by this series of violent acts today,” the police chief said. “We would like to express our sincere appreciation to our citizens who have provided numerous tips throughout this ordeal.”
As gunmen terrorized the city, the Memphis Area Transit Authority temporarily suspended trolley and bus services out of “an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of its drivers and riders.”
Police have not discussed a possible motive or released the victims’ identities. It was also unclear how the suspect obtained the weapons.
The rampage was the latest in a string of violence to hit Memphis in recent days and weeks, including the killing of a woman who was abducted Friday while on a predawn jog.
“This has been a terrible week for the city of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department,” Davis told reporters.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner added, “I want to assure the public that we will all work together to try to contain this senseless violence here in Memphis and Shelby County.”
In February 2020, Kelly, who was 17 at the time, was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, use of a firearm to commit a dangerous felony and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to serious violence and was sentenced to three years behind bars in April 2021. He was released from prison 11 months later, in March, according to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
“I want, I want to first express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families who are suffering in this senseless murder,” Strickland told reporters. “I’m angry at them. And I’m angry at our citizens who had to shelter in place for their own safety until this suspect was caught. This is no way for us to live and it’s not acceptable. “
ABC News’ Jianna Cousin and Will Gretsky contributed to this report.